Boneheaded Design from Verizon


Verizon's new phones set off alarm when you dial 911

This sort of smells like a “urban legend” or a tall tale, but this was also reported in the “mainstream media“, not just in the blogs (no offense to blogs!)

What's the tie in to Lean? Think of how Toyota constantly puts itself in the shoes (or the seat) of the customer. Before designing a new minivan, designers and engineers drove across North America in other vans to see the customer experience first hand. I guess that's one component of Lean Design, if you will.

If the linked story is true… that Verizon's new phones sound a loud alarm when you dial 911, I agree that's a very thoughtless feature, especially if they don't warn you about it.

Let's say someone has broken into your home and you are hiding somewhere…. do you want a loud alarm blaring when you dial 911? Is that supposed to scare off an intruder?

The blogs are abuzz about this new “feature.”

Recently, a woman in Texas was forced to hang up after dialing 911, thanks to the unexpectedly shrill alarm. She had dialed after noticing her security chain was removed from her property, and was afraid that possible miscreants were still lurking about. Obviously, in this sort of situation, a loud noise pinpointing a 911 caller's location is not exactly ideal.

I guess Verizon didn't think this through completely, did they? Did they walk in the customer's shoes? Did they even think about it?

The source of the “feature” is from a Verizon misinterpretation of an FCC rule, as you can read about in the linked sites. Doubly bone-headed. They didn't think to confirm their assumption with the FCC first?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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